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First Aid for Blisters and How To Prevent Them From Developing

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Feb 16, 2023

First Aid for Blisters and How To Prevent Them From Developing

Blisters are a pretty common occurrence, especially for folks who are active or if their work requires them to be on their feet. Knowing the right first aid for blisters can help prevent infection and aids in helping blisters heal faster.

What Is a Blister?

Blisters are a pocket or a bubble of fluid that’s found under the skin. Blisters happen when the skin gets inflamed or irritated, and the surrounding area sends fluid known as serum under the skin. It’s also possible for blood to pool under the blister instead, and when this happens it’s known as a blood blister. If there’s an infection, pus can also build up inside the blister.

This pocket of fluid acts as cushioning that protects the skin from further inflammation so long as it doesn’t get punctured. Blisters typically heal on their own in about a week.

However, blisters can also “pop” or leak on their own. When that happens, the blister can become prone to infection. It’s important to avoid popping the blister as much as possible, and if it does pop, be sure to keep the area sterilized to prevent infection.

Why Do People Get Blisters?

Blisters usually develop on a person’s hands and feet. This is because these parts of the body are the ones usually exposed to irritation or inflammation. However, it’s also possible for blisters to develop on other parts of the body, depending on what the possible cause is.

Here are some of the possible causes of blisters:

  • Friction or irritation of the skin, such as when your foot rubs against your shoe.
  • Burns from an injury or sunburn can also cause blisters.
  • Some types of allergies, including drug allergy and contact dermatitis, can cause persons to develop blisters in response to an allergen.
  • Skin diseases that cause inflammation or irritation can also be a trigger for blisters.
  • Usually, the location or distribution provides a clue to the cause of the blister.

    For the most part, blisters aren’t usually painful, and they can be a minor annoyance. However, some blisters, especially those that are infected, can cause a lot of pain, so it’s important to know what to do in case that happens.

    What Happens When a Blister Gets Infected?

    Blisters usually get infected if they get popped. This is because bacteria can get under the skin of a popped blister and cause infection. This is why you should not pop your blister, and try to keep it intact as much as possible.

    The only time it would be okay to pop a blister is if a doctor recommends it, and they will also be the one to do it.

    If a blister gets infected, then the area under the skin can get filled with pus. This is a cloudy or opaque liquid that can be foul-smelling. The skin around an infected blister also feels warm, and it can be painful to the touch.

    If left untreated, the infection could spread and cause more serious problems such as cellulitis or sepsis.

    first aid for blisters

    First Aid Tips for Blisters

    Blisters are usually a minor injury. But this doesn’t mean that you should neglect blisters, or you should not do any first aid when you have a blister.

    Caring for blisters helps prevent infection, and also helps heal the blister faster. Here are some first aid tips as well as care tips for blisters:

    • Wash the area with soap and water.
    • Sterilize the area around the blister, and gently cover it with gauze. This helps to keep the blister intact as much as possible. This helps prevent infection as the skin acts as a barrier against infection.
    • If you have a blister on the bottom of your feet, you can use extra padding in order to prevent the blister from popping.
    • If the blister does pop, cover it with bandage to protect it. Make sure to keep the area as clean as possible. Don’t peel off the broken skin, as it can still act as a barrier against infection.
    • In case a blister keeps coming back, or it doesn’t heal after a week or two, be sure to visit your doctor.

    How Can You Prevent Blisters?

    Here are some useful reminders to prevent blisters from developing in the first place:

    • Wear shoes that fit well and socks that are soft and comfortable.
    • Put bandages or padding on areas that tend to develop blisters. This helps protect these areas from irritation.
    • Using baby powder or petroleum jelly can also help irritation and inflammation of the skin.
    • If you notice the skin turning red, or becoming painful, take a break to prevent a blister from forming.

    Learn other First Aid tips here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Feb 16, 2023

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